Lionheart drummer Clive Edwards talks about history with Thin Lizzy axemen, UFO and Pat Travers
By Todd Houston
Rockford Rocked Interview: Hey Clive how have you been? If I’m not mistaking you were just here in the states?
Clive Edwards: Hello Todd! Yes, I’ve been well. I spent a week in New York. My good friends Jimmy Kunes (Cactus) and Dave Colwell (Bad Co/Humble Pie) were doing a show at Daryl’s House (Daryl Hall’s TV series). I was over so I had a real blast seeing them.
RRI: What have you been up to lately music wise?
CE: I’ve been working on the new Lionheart album (expect a big announcement soon on that one), rehearsing and recording with Pete Way (UFO, Fastway, Ozzy) for his new solo project that will be set for early next year. I also get to play with some great artists like Zaine Griff when they are over. I have a home studio that I use a lot. I have Ronnie Johnson coming over this week, a fantastic guitarist who spent many years with Van Morrison and also Bob Dylan.
RRI: That’s very exciting! You’ve had a long career drumming for some great bands headed by some great guitar players. How did you get started in the business?
CE: Just started gigging at an early age I guess. I was always getting asked to do gigs even when I was a kid, lots of dance band stuff when I was about 13 or so then gradually I started playing rock music with people I met. My cousin John Rhino Edwards was as keen as me to get playing. One gig nearly always led to someone asking me to do something else, so it just snowballed until I was playing with great players.
RRI: You were with The Pat Travers’s band early on. How does a guy from Hounslow, Middlesex, England get hooked up with a guitar hero from Canada?
CE: (Laughs) Well Pat was based in the UK so when Nicko McBrain (Iron Maiden) left I got to audition. They were very big boots to fill for sure!
RRI: Tell me about the band Wild Horses that you joined in 1977. You had Brian Robertson (guitar) fresh out of Thin Lizzy, Jimmy Bain (bass) former Rainbow and Neil Carter (future UFO and Gary Moore band). What a line up man!
CE: Yes, it could of or should have been a dream gig, but it just got out of control. It was such a shame that it didn’t but that’s how it goes sometimes. I had never experienced the wild Rock ‘n’ Roll excess that was the norm for a few bands back then, it was crazy Todd.
RRI: I understand you left in 1981. Guitarist Brian “Robbo” Robertson (former Thin Lizzy) had a reputation of getting pissed in the head and missing gigs at the last moment. What was it like working with him?
CE: Well, he never missed a gig back then, not physically anyway! But he was very hard to work with. He was just not a nice guy when he was out of it. The trouble was he was nearly always out of it! (laughter) You kind of forgive all the bullshit when they play a fantastic solo. A solo only they could play you know? But off stage you wanted to just kill him. We do still talk now and again. He is so much nicer now and very funny fella. But not back in the day
RRI: Speaking of Thin Lizzy, you were very close to singer/bassist Phil Lynott and toured together for a few years. Thoughts?
CE: A very sad loss and such a waste. Phil was a very special guy in lots of ways, he knew he was daft to do the kind of stuff he did. He would say to me “Clive… do as I say and don’t do what I do”. I still miss him, and all the music that he would of done over the years. But it was not to be.
RRI: That’s really too bad. Later on you got hooked up with the UFO camp and recorded the album High Stakes & Dangerous Men. You had yourself, Phil Mogg, Pete Way and (guitarist) Lawrence Archer. How much touring was UFO doing during this time?
CE: We did a fair bit of touring but nothing in the US. Pretty much everywhere else got to see us. The band had been dormant for a few years when I joined, so we had to put it back into a new vibrant rock band that record companies, promotors and fans could be excited about… we spent time writing and demoing the songs, then we got the record deal and off we went. It was a bit like starting from scratch.
RRI: Not unlike Thin Lizzy’s Brian Robertson, UFO bassist Pete way was notorious for his on and off stage shenanigans. Did that contribute in any way to the bands split?
CE: No, not really. When I first joined, singer Phil Mogg and Pete were both as bad (or as good) as each other. They had both worked hard on getting back a sensible level without the excesses of previous years though. That’s not to say they were angels because they weren’t, but they had to show people that they could still cut the mustard and we did that big time. The pair were very funny most of the time, like a comedy double act. I don’t think I have ever laughed so much as I did during that period. It was not long before people were offering loads of money for the original line up to get back. They took the kings shilling for good or bad.
RRI: I understand you eventually got together with former UFO keyboardist Danny Peyronel (No Heavy Petting), Rocky Newton (Michael Schenker Group) and Lawrence to form X-UFO.
CE: Yes, we just felt like it would be so much fun to go out and play those songs again, some of which never get played anymore, and it was fun, the best fun you can have with your clothes on.
RRI: What were some of your favourites to play live?
CE: All of them, they each have something special, from “Love to Love”, “Rock Bottom”, “Back Door Man”, etc. That’s why it’s fun, it’s all your favourites in one set!
RRI: What does Clive Edwards do for fun when he’s not bashing the skins?
CE: I love walking the dogs on the beach, riding a mountain bike, seeing friends and watching sports (football, rugby, cricket and F1).
RRI: Favourite football team?
CE: Tottenham Hotspurs.
RRI: What do you sing in the shower?
CE: I don’t. I can only do stunt vocals, men falling off buildings, planes crashing, that kind of thing. (Laughter)
RRI: Favourite album of all time? (Okay, top five)
CE: Well I love loads, but these are the ones that rocked my world when growing up – Jeff Beck, Truth; Led Zeppelin I; The Who, Live at Leeds; Humble Pie, Humble Pie; Free, Tons of Sobs.
RRI: What’s next for Clive Edwards?
CE: I hope it will be the same old same old. I have loads on my plate and you never know when the next call will come with a “Do you fancy playing with so and so”… but look out for the new Lionheart releases and Pete Way project… will blow your socks off!!! My next live show are in November out in Holland and Germany with some friends of mine. Also check out the Lionheart page on Facebook! Cheers! R.